Protection of fishermen's rights in disputed waters a priority: MAC
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Taiwan has sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea, and the protection of its fishermen operating in the disputed waters is its priority, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Wednesday.
The MAC was responding to remarks by Yang Yi, spokesman of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, who said earlier in the day that Taiwan fishermen have no need to worry that their fishing rights will be squeezed by China's moves to assert its territorial claim over the island group.
Yang said such worries "are completely unnecessary," and China's vessels will continue to safeguard fishing rights near the island group and "provide assistance to fishermen on both sides of the Taiwan Strait."
The MAC said the Taiwan government has always been concerned about the Diaoyutai Islands, and has repeatedly affirmed its stance on the issue.
The Diaoyutais are currently administered by Japan, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
The MAC reiterated that the ROC holds sovereignty over the island group and said all related parties should put aside their differences and jointly develop the resources there.
It also mentioned President Ma Ying-jeou's East China Sea Peace Initiative, which advocates a two-stage approach of holding peaceful dialogue and cooperating on exploring resources in the disputed area.
President Ma's approach is "pragmatic" and is aimed at safeguarding regional peace and stability, the MAC said.
(By Scarlett Chai and Lilian Wu)
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